Paul G. Allen School Leadership Seminar Series

CSE 390L, Winter 2020


Tuesdays, 1:30-2:20, ECE 037
Instructors: Dan Grossman / Ed Lazowska
A one-credit (CR/NC) seminar series


The Paul G. Allen School Leadership Seminar Series, CSE 390L, is a one-credit (CR/NC) seminar series, primarily targeted at upper-division CSE undergraduates, that brings CSE alumni and friends to campus to describe how to be effective in a startup, small company, large company, or less common environment. Our guests will discuss topics such as:

  • What do you need to know in order to succeed, that you don't learn in your classes or during an internship?
  • How do you position yourself to work on interesting projects?
  • In a large company, what strategies can make you influential, vs. a cog in a wheel?
  • What is life like in a startup?
  • If your goal is to start and grow your own company, where do you begin?
  • What are the pros and cons of less common career options, such as teaching high school computer science?
  • Why might you choose graduate school vs. tech industry employment after graduation?
These should be great, informative, interactive sessions. This seminar has been very well received during its past offerings (2011-2019). But it's up to you - you need to make it interactive!

Course requirements

Regular attendance, active participation. (Attendance will be taken periodically.) Please read up on the individual and his/her employer(s) in advance of each course session. Think of our guests as "postcards from your future." Come to class prepared to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of these alums.

Course email archive

Send email to course members by using the address cse390l_wi20 at

The archive of email is available here.

The lineup

Tuesdays, 1:30, ECE 037
Date Guest(s) Experience
January 7 Recent alums:
   Amanda Chalfant, 2018 Computer Science B.S.
   Kelsie Haakenson, 2017 Computer Science B.S.,
      2017 History B.A.
   Royden Luckey, 2017 Computer Science B.S.
   Pooja Sethi, 2017 Computer Engineering B.S.
Microsoft (Azure SWE)
98point6 Inc. (UX Designer)
Tableau Software (SDE)
Facebook (Machine Learning Engineer)
January 14 Sergey Karayev, 2009 Computer Science B.S.,
   2009 Psychology B.A.,
   2015 UC Berkeley Computer Science Ph.D.
   Slides (pdf)
Gradescope (Co-Founder) -> Turnitin (Head of AI for STEM)
January 21 Michelle Lim, 2013 Computer Science B.S.,
   2013 Economics B.A.
Tableau Software (SDE) -> thePlatform (SDE 2) -> JPMorgan Chase (Engineer, Cybersecurity & Technology Controls)
January 28 Gabriel Pratt, 2011 Computer Science B.S.,
   2018 UCSD Bioinformatics & Systems Biology Ph.D.
TwinStrand Biosciences (Bioinformatics Scientist) -> Amazon (Research Scientist)
February 4 Rylan Hawkins, 2009 Computer Engineering B.S.
   Slides (pdf)
Visual Schedule Finder (Founder & CEO) -> New England Revolution (MLS soccer player) -> VibeGlobe (Co-Founder & CTO) -> Microsoft (Program Manager II) -> Storyform (CEO & Developer) -> Convoy (Senior Engineering Manager)
February 11 Tara Pugh, 2011 Computer Science B.S. Cozi (Program Manager) -> Meredith Corp. (Senior Product Manager) -> Likewise Inc. (Product Manager)
February 18 Tariq Yusuf, 2014 Computer Science B.S. Google (Senior Privacy Engineer)
February 25 Babak Dabagh, 2015 Computer Engineering B.S. Whitepages (SDE) -> Amazon (SDE II)
March 3 Eric Arendt, 2010 Computer Science B.S.,
   2010 Electrical Engineering B.S.
   Slides (pdf)
Digital Scirocco (SDE) -> Zillow (SDE) -> Zillow Group (Sr. Director of Product Development)
March 10 Mid-career alums:
   Wes Hather, 2006 Computer Science B.S.
   Gordon Hempton, 2007 Computer Science B.S.,
      2007 Mathematics B.S.

Flying Lab Software (SDE) -> Team Apart (Co-Founder) -> Poll Everywhere (Flex Developer) -> GroupTalent (Co-Founder) -> Outreach (Co-Founder)
Microsoft (SDE) -> Team Apart (Co-Founder & CEO) -> GroupTalent (Co-Founder & CTO) -> Outreach (Co-Founder & CTO)